By Mark Eydman

One simple model suggests that Loyalty is a behaviour exhibited by Customers built upon the feeling of Satisfaction that accumulates through interactions or Touch Points over time! This might be the type of thing that builds up in successive visits to a local supermarket which on each occasion you find to be clean, well laid out and stocking more than enough varieties of fresh pasta.

Loyalty though is much more than a behaviour! It is a fallacy to assume that a customer is loyal just because they continue to buy from you. There are many reasons why a customer continues purchasing which have little to do with being really loyal;

•There may be an ongoing contractual arrangement with your company

•It takes too much effort or money to change suppliers

•You are currently the low cost provider

•Their relationship is with one of your employees and not with your company

•Habits are hard to break

•They may actually be in the process of finding an alternative supplier!

After much pondering, I would propose a much more useful way to consider Customer Loyalty. Loyalty can be defined as a customer continuing to believe that your organisation’s product/service offer is their best option. Remember, their best option may not be a direct alternative.

Customer Loyalty though is not an end in it’s own right but instead brings many valuable benefits;

•Loyalty means hanging in there even when there may be a problem.

•It means not seeking out competitors and, when approached by competitors, not being interested.

•It means being willing to spend the time and effort to communicate with the supplier so as to build on past successes and overcome any weaknesses.

•It means a longer term relationship with willingness to increase the available spend!

In my next articles, I will be considering how Customer Loyalty can be measured, improved & leveraged and thinking about Customer Journey Mapping. In the meantime, a few questions for you to ponder;

On a scale of 0-10, how Loyal do you think your Customers are?

•What might be helping build this Loyalty? What might be harming it?

•How do you know?